We're big on natural consequences here. It's part and parcel of being a gardener, really. If you put the seeds in a congenial place, give them what you need, you get plants and food. If you neglect them, you don't. If you misbehave, you don't have as smooth a life as you might otherwise. If, for instance, you stay in your assigned area and do what you're supposed to do, you get treats, sweet words, and praise.
On the other hand, if you, say, leave your area and cut loose, destroying property in the pursuit of momentary joy, you may even end up restricted in your movements.
I give you: Chicken Jail.
Until we either tighten up the yard, which was built for more land-based fowl, or rebuild a different kind of enclosure, the ladies are coop-bound. They have food and water, nice nest boxes and even some greenery tossed in this morning.
What they don't have is access to my garden. Yesterday they were out quite a bit of time, apparently, and managed to rampage through much of it. A cucumber looks pretty bad, the peppers are Very Very unhappy, the bean bed may never be the same, and the corn isn't doing so well either. I'm glad they didn't eat that ladybug larvae pupating on the squash leaf in the corn bed.
As far as the corn goes, I assume it's a dry run for raccoons or squirrels later, but anyhow. . .
Most clouds have at least a little silver lining, though, and in this case, it's the chicks who are the beneficiaries.
They're outside, in a junior coop these days. The idea is that my house neither sounds nor (thank goodness) smells like a hatchery any more. They get used to the weather, the bigger hens get to see and smell them, ideally reducing the amount of violence needed to establish pecking order when we try to integrate them into one big flock.
But they're still relatively very small next to the ladies. They'd be harassed constantly if they were in general population. So, they spend their days and nights in a restricted area. Not bad, just smaller.
They're also very skittish. Except for a bit of handling by the children, they've been left alone, petwise. This is probably a good thing, because they are very much Not Pets, unlike the first round of indulged chickens. What they aren't is dumb. Once one little one figured out that me raising up an old bee box meant good hunting,
It became a chick mob scene.
In a perfect world, the chagrin of the babies getting the run of the yard would prompt the big hens to resolve to stay put. Because I'm very clear on that "not perfect" part of the world, they stay under lock and key (or coop and feed barrel rolled in front of the door) until we're really ready for them.
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